Discuss The Differences Between Conservation And Tea Parties

Today I sat an exam and managed to slip in some facts about Bertie the Last Black Rhino (or what he represents at least), and also some cheetah and livestock guarding dog facts. It’s amazing how deeply ingrained these things can be when you give a thirty minute talk on them 60 times. I’m sure the falling in love with the animals also helps. So after being serious about animals, I came home and finished editing a poem I started a while ago… about animals. Bit of a busman’s holiday, really. However, this is a bit less serious. It’s a long one, but I’m proud of it, and it gets silly and fun as it goes on. This is “Mary’s Tea Party”.

Mary’s Tea Party

“Oh Mary, my sweet, won’t you come in to eat!
But it’s hot now, so don’t you be tardy!”
So Mary got up, and replacing her cup,
She abandoned her garden tea party.

The Hog in the bush gave his neighbour a push,
And the Frog found himself quite misplaced,
But once his great eyes had espied the surprise,
He was cured in no time of disgrace.

He called to his friends, the chin-wagging old Hens,
And demanded that they spread the word:
“A party for us is a great deal of fuss,
So this message just has to be heard!”

The Hens’ eyes grew bright, with the gossip’s delight,
And declared themselves up to the task.
So rushing the Rooster, they blurted “Hey, you sir,
A favour of you we must ask…”

He opened his beak, and these words did he speak:
“All my dear fellow creatures and beasts,
Come one and come all, each who may hear this call,
For today we’ve a glorious feast!”

Each beast and each bird in the whole grounds had heard,
From the gardens way back to the stables.
It was merely minutes, ‘til everyone in it,
Was gathered and squeezed the table.

The Horse, but of course, was the first to have forced,
Her own way to the front of the party.
As she made her way, she obtained bales of hay,
And she neighed oh so hale and hearty.

When next the Peacock came declaring his shock,
Seeking after who ruined his nap,
The hens took his wing, and sweet words did they sing,
And so that was the end of all that.

Then third came the Goat, in his glittering coat,
And he made his way into the yard.
To rest his sore feet, he sat down with a bleat,
And proclaimed that he sorely was starved.

Soon after the call, the whole table was full,
And each animal sat down to dine,
With wings and with claws, and with hooves and with paws,
This buffet in no way was refined.

The wee Millipede, in his manner of greed,
Had a cup in each one of his hands,
But nobody cared, once the melodies blared,
From all five of the Fox-trot brass band.

The raving old Rabbit had one awful habit;
He’d overly sugar his tea.
If one were to grab it, he’d scream “You can’t have it,
As all of this sugar’s for me!”

The troublesome Crow could not simply let go,
Of her chance when the Rabbit was turned.
He was unaware, as she pecked at his hair,
But his tea choked him when he returned.

The Snail thought rubbish, that he became sluggish,
But he was too full-up to stand.
And sore was the Slug, when there were no more mugs,
For he came a lot later than planned.

The Magpie cared not for the whistling teapots,
Only silverware could make her swoon,
So nobody’s tea could be stirred because she,
Had by then stolen all of the spoons.

Meanwhile with breath baited, the Badger had waited,
For now his grand scheme had been set.
He said not a word about any dessert,
Every sweet surely would be his yet.

The poorly Grass-Snake was to make the mistake;
She had taken a cake for her own.
In jam they were smothered, so ants had them covered;
The Badger had every scone.

The swan, to the goose, had said “Let’s make a truce,
And ignore all of this obscene ruckus.”
But standing wide-eyed, the goose flung his wings wide,
And he spilled both the Hare and the hummus.

The Squirrel was new to all this, it is true,
And she chewed her way through her own saucer.
When asked if she knew what it was she should do,
She then boldly replied, “Oh, of course, sir.”

But what happened next, not a soul would have guessed:
Mary’s dog had come hurtling in.
They jumped in a panic, and all became manic;
The whole party was whirling like wind.

Just when she had heard, the poor, nervous Blackbird,
She began to both cough and to splutter,
The Dove gave a whack on the poor Blackbird’s back,
But her beak ended up in the butter.

The Horse gave a jump, and she spilled sugar lumps,
And the Rabbit, at last, lost his mind.
So faster than quick, he delivered a kick,
But it fell on the Hedgehog’s behind.

He shot from the table as fast as was able,
And doing so knocked down a chair,
But with all the clamour, and Rabbit’s loud stammers,
Nobody realised it was there.

The poor mother Duck was quite flush out of luck,
When she tripped and spilt all of her tea.
Worse luck even still had the Goat for the spill,
Was to land on his glittering sleeve.

With many a bleat, he was quick on his feet,
And began to chase after the Duck.
The Duck quickly fled through a hole in the shed,
And in which the Goat found himself stuck.

The Snake saw his chance, and he hid in the plants,
For the Badger could simply not see.
The badger was tripped, and away the snake slipped.
It was quite the full menagerie.

When Mary returned, she was full of concern,
For the noise had disturbed her nice lunch,
There was naught to see, but a ruined party,
And the last of the troublesome bunch.

Old Robin Red-breast had sat down for a rest,
But had found himself captured red-handed.
The Thrush in a rush, had flown off with a hush,
And the Frog found his mob all disbanded.

“Oh, my! It is mean,” wailed Mary. “This scene,
Is a mess that I’d rather not see!
I’d be sorely bereft, had I not found they left,
Just one small cup of tea here for me.”


End of Christmas, Back to Zoology

I saw a black rhino, but wasn't able to get a good photo. Still had fun, though!

I saw a black rhino, but wasn’t able to get a good photo. Still definitely had fun on safari, though!

“Everything is connected to everything else.” The first law of ecology, as stated by Barry Commoner, holds true where studied ecosystems are concerned. Cheetahs are not isolated predators, depending on good habitat and prey, who also depend on that habitat. Predators and large animals are excellent indicators of the health of the environment. This is a message that was thoroughly bored into my head when working with cheetahs, widening my perspective on conservation and encouraging that all-encompassing approach to protecting habitats and everything in them.

By working with cheetahs, I also learned vast amounts about other species, and also about myself. I’ve tried to be more conscientious about all the things that I am connected to, both as a person and part of a species, being responsible as one of the 7 billion custodians of the planet.

But it’s not all doom and gloom and maturity. Here is a silly song, scraping those last dregs of Christmas together into the tune of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, about black rhinos. Enjoy!

Bertie the last black rhino,
Had a very pointy nose,
And if you ever saw it,
You would not believe it grows.

All of the other species,
Used to laugh and say mean words,
They never let poor Bertie,
Join in their savannah herds.

Then one sunburnt Christmas Eve,
The warthogs came to say,
“Bertie with your nose so stout,
Won’t you dig our tubers out?”

Then all the other species,
Did admire Bertie’s horn,
And they would then protect him,
So poachers you have now been warned!